HomeSouthern VoiceTwo Poems by Marianne Mersereau

Two Poems by Marianne Mersereau

I’m Told How to Get a Pretty Man

You want to get a
pretty man someday? Then 
you gotta learn to make a pretty
bed, my granny said. Wash the sheets 
in spring water, hang them
outside to dry so sunshine
can seep into their seams,
make them smell 
like pure love. Lay a fancy
quilt on top of the sheets – one with
a romantic pattern like
Double Wedding Ring. Make 
sure the tiny stitches are 
strong enough to 
hold you and your pretty
man together forever. 

Marry Up

For My Maternal Grandmother

We are on the back porch of her small house
pulling clothes through the ringer washing machine
talking about my future –
My advice is to marry up, she says
in her deep mountain accent,
speaks local family names she considers down
and some that are up, sorting them like laundry.
We carry the basket of wet clothes into the yard.
She reaches down, picks up a towel
and hangs it on the line, while in my head,
I invent names she’s never heard.


Marianne Mersereau grew up on Virginia’s Crooked Road near the border of Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina. She is the author of a chapbook, Timbrel (Finishing Line Press, 2013). Her writing has appeared in The Hollins Critic, Bella Grace and Entropy, and is forthcoming in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and Still Point Arts Quarterly. She was named a finalist in Seattle’s Poetry on Buses, Public Poetry Houston’s Anthology Enough and Artists Embassy International’s Dancing Poetry Contest. She currently resides in the Pacific Northwest.

Hospital Visit
Refuse & The Moment